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'Ponytailed' white male with a shotgun and an explosive device shoots 5 dead and leaves 3 injured at Capital Gazette newsroom, as cops reveal he mutilated his fingertips to avoid identification
The gunman who murdered five people at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, had been flagged up to police as 'the next mass shooter' by a woman he obsessively stalked - and had a vendetta against the publication because they exposed his perverted campaign of harassment.
Jarrod W. Ramos' harassment of the woman, one of his former high school classmates, had been the subject of a 2011 article in the Capital Gazette, which would later see him sue the newspaper.
After the unsuccessful lawsuit, and years of posting threats against the newspaper and its staff on social media, the 38-year-old opened fire in their newsroom on Thursday afternoon. He was remanded without bail during his court appearance today.
Ramos' initial stalking of his former classmate had begun with a Facebook message of thanks for being 'the only person ever to say hello or be nice to him in school', and escalated into a harassment campaign which saw her forced to change her name and leave the state.
The woman told a WBAL TV reporter that she had become so frightened of Ramos that she had to move three times and now sleeps with a gun, adding that he is a 'f***ing nut job'.
Jarrod W. Ramos is pictured in a police booking photo taken by police on Thursday after his arrest, left, and in his jail booking shot, right. He has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder
Campaign: Ramos had unsuccessfully sued the newspaper and one of its former reporters in 2013 for defamation. A Twitter profile under his name, using the name of a former Gazette reporter in the handle and the reporter's picture includes tweets criticizing the Gazette and details of the length legal dispute
A few years later, she was proved right when he opened fire at Capital's newsroom, killing five and leaving two injured.
The mass shooting appears to have been carefully planned to ensure maximum casualties, according to new details which emerged today.
Before he burst into the newsroom, Ramos had sneaked round the back of the Capital Gazette building and barricaded the backdoor - closing off a potential escape route for his victims, Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh told Fox Baltimore.
The 38-year-old, who also had a backpack full of smoke bombs, then walked round to the front entrance and opened fire, shattering the glass front door. Schuh said he then deployed one of the smoke bombs, masking his entrance and adding to the fear and confusion of staff.
Most of the staff were at their desks and editors were in their offices when Jarrod, armed with a shotgun, entered the open office and began shooting.
'He was going down our newsroom, starting from the front and just continually shooting people,' crime reporter Phil Davis said.
While some hid from the intruder under their desks, another reporter, Selene San Felice, said that she, two staffers and an intern ran for the back door - only to find it had been blocked by Ramos. Unable to escape, she told CNNthat she hid under a desk with the intern, while another colleague sheltered behind a filing cabinet.
Charged: Jarrod W. Ramos, pictured in a 2013 mugshot, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder
Reporter John McNamara, however, refused to give up and kept trying to open the door. He was gunned down and killed trying to escape.
'I'm not sure exactly in the next couple seconds what happened, but I know that John was standing up,' San Felice said. 'I heard the footsteps, and John got shot. It was very close. I saw him get shot, but I didn't see the gunman or anything.'
Police arrived at the home of Ramos’s father Miguel Ramos shortly before 10 am on Friday and within minutes he drove off to what was described as a ‘routine interview.’
He drove off in a silver Saturn SUV with a woman who neighbors said lives with him. They had not answered the door when DailyMail.com and other reporters knocked.
The couple lives in a brick single-story home at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in the bedroom community of Odenton, Maryland, that they bought for $420,000 in 2005.
According to his Facebook page, the senior Ramos, 63, used to work at the National Security Agency. Several pictures on his page show him with the same woman in exotic locales including London and the Caribbean and at several Baltimore Ravens games.
Neighbors on the street said despite Ramos living on the street for more than a decade, they didn’t know him.
‘He would always wave when he was driving down the street, but that was about the extent of it,’ said one man living a few doors down. ‘They seem nice, but I don’t even know his name.’
Another neighbor said: ‘I talk to him when he comes in my store, but never as a neighbor.’
The neighbors said they had never seen Jarrod at the house. The Baltimore Sun reported that he had stopped going to family get-togethers after his grandmother died in 2011.
The mass shooting occurred after years of threats and abuse following the 2011 Capital Gazette article about Ramos harassment of the woman was headlined 'Jarrod wants to be your friend', and was published after he pleaded guilty to criminal harassment.
The article, quoted in its entirety in the 2013 defamation lawsuit, described how Ramos had sent the woman numerous emails spanning several months, calling her vulgar names and telling her to kill herself.
The Capital reported that he also contacted the woman's job; she was suspended by a supervisor the same month and then let go several months later, which she believes was due to Ramos.
'When she blocked him from seeing her Facebook page, he found things she wrote on other people's pages and taunted her with it, attaching screenshots of the postings to some of his emails.
'She called police, and for months he stopped. But then he started again, nastier than ever.
'All this without having seen her in person since high school.'
In the years that followed the publication of the article, Ramos sued the newspaper, the reporter who initially wrote about the case, a judge and the woman who testified against him.
Ramos, 38, even posted death threats on social media against the newspaper's editor, Tom Marquardt, and another reporter, as part of his years-long harassment campaign against the newspaper.
'I said during that time, 'This guy is crazy enough to come in and blow us all away,' Marquardt told the LA Times.
Despite evidence of the death threats online, police failed to arrest the gunman.
'We contacted police ... and they went out to talk to him,' said Marquardt, who added that Ramos had personally wished him dead on social media. 'They reviewed all the tweets so far and again came away with the feeling that there really wasn't enough substance there to pursue a case in court.'
He repeatedly tweeted at the newspaper from his Twitter account, which used the handle @EricHartleyFrnd - the Capital Gazette reporter who wrote the initial story
Stalker killer: Jarrod W. Ramos, who shot and killed five people at the Capital Gazette in Maryland stalked a high school classmate, and she has now revealed that she warned police five years ago that he would be 'the next mass shooter'
Killer and creep: Ramos' stalking of his ex-classmate begun with a Facebook message and escalated into harassment which saw her forced to change her name and leave the state
On Friday, Police Chief Timothy Altomare was asked why Ramos wasn't picked up soon if police were aware he was potentially dangerous.
'We were aware of him,' he told The Today Show, adding that even the death threats weren't enough for police to make an arrest.
'This is the greatest free society on earth. Conduct had to cross certain lines for us to intervene.'
Altomare said that the newspaper had contacted them just once, in 2013, over the threats but said that 'as a shared agreement between the investigator and the Capital management at the time, they decided not to press forward with a formal investigation because they were afraid it would exacerbate the situation.'
However, Marquardt said police told them they couldn't arrest Ramos, adding that the newspaper was reluctant to sue him for fear it could make the situation worse.
'The theory back then was, 'Let's not infuriate him more than I have to.… The more you agitate this guy, the worse it's gonna get.'
His defamation suit was thrown out on appeal in 2015 because Ramos failed to prove that what the newspaper had printed was untrue.
Ramos would go on to routinely harass journalists from the Capital Gazette on Twitter in scores of profanity laced posts.
The Twitter account uses the handle @EricHartleyFrnd - the name of one of the former staff reporters on the paper, Eric Thomas Hartley.
The profile picture is a photo of Mr Hartley, who now works at a newspaper in Norfolk, Virginia, with an anime 'sacrifice' symbol photoshopped onto his forehead.
The symbol, from the Japanese anime series Berserk, means that whomever is branded with it will be 'ritualistically murdered'.
The gunman who shot dead five people and injured two others at Maryland's Capital Gazette newsroom on Thursday in a 'targeted attack' has now been identified.
Multiple outlets are reporting that Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, was the gunman taken into custody shortly he opened fire at the newsroom in Annapolis at about 2.40pm.
Ramos, who lives in Laurel, Maryland, had refused to identify himself to authorities in the aftermath of the shooting.
A law enforcement official said he had to be identified using facial recognition technology after purposely damaging his fingerprints in what investigators believe was an attempt to prevent them from quickly identifying him. Acting police chief William Krampf later denied this.
Police have not released the gunman's name and only revealed that he is in his late 30s.
There is no known motive at this stage but police said it was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette and that he entered the building and 'looked for his victims'. Police said he threw smoke grenades and fired a shotgun at his victims.
Police say newspaper had received threats on social media prior to the deadly shooting. Investigators are trying to determine whether the threats were connected to the suspect.
Ramos had unsuccessfully sued the newspaper and one of its former reporters in 2012 for defamation.
Police said the suspect was taken into custody but investigators are still trying to work out a motive for the shooting
Gazette journalist E.B Furgurson (pictured on right) takes notes with two other people as police officers respond to an active shooter inside his newsroom
'This person was prepared today to come in, this person was prepared to shoot people. His intent was to cause harm,' Krampf said.
The gunman was reportedly under a desk when police found him and his weapon was located nearby. Authorities said they recovered a shotgun from the scene, as well as what they thought to be an explosive device. Police said the device 'was taken care of' but didn't elaborate.
Phil Davis, a court and crime reporter for the Gazette, said that a lone gunman had shot through the glass door of the offices and then opened fire on the newspaper employees.
Messenger, tweeted there was an 'active shooter 888 Bestgate please help us'
'A single shooter shot multiple people at my office, some of whom are dead,' he tweeted, while he said he was waiting to be interviewed by police.
'Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. Can't say much more and don't want to declare anyone dead, but it's bad.
'There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.'
Describing the moment as like being in 'a war zone', Davis said he and his colleagues were hiding under their desks, listening to the gunman firing and reloading until there was sudden silence.
'I don't know why he stopped,' he said.
Moments later the police arrived and surrounded the shooter. Officers were able to take the suspect into custody with any gunfire being exchanged.
Anthony Messenger (left) an intern at the Gazette tweeted calling for help
Phil Davis, a court and crime reporter for the Gazette, confirmed that multiple people had been shot
Jimmy DeButts, the editor of the newspaper's website, tweeted in the hours after the shooting that he was 'devastated, heartbroken and numb'.
'I'm in no position to speak, just know @capgaznews reporters & editors give all they have every day. There are no 40 hour weeks, no big paydays - just a passion for telling stories from our community,' he tweeted.
'We keep doing more with less. We find ways to cover high school sports, breaking news, tax hikes, school budgets & local entertainment.
'We are there in times of tragedy. We do our best to share the stories of people, those who make our community better. Please understand, we do all this to serve our community.
'We try to expose corruption. We fight to get access to public records & bring to light the inner workings of government despite major hurdles put in our way. The reporters & editors put their all into finding the truth. That is our mission. Will always be.'
Another reporter Chase Cook, who wasn't inside the building at the time, tweeted that while they didn't have much information right now: 'I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow.'
Aerial footage shows police at the scene, and staff being lead out after multiple fatalities were reported during a mass shooting at Maryland's Capital Gazette newspaper headquarters
A huge police presence is on the scene and aerial footage shows people being led out of the building with their hands raised
Police officers respond to an active shooter inside the newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland
Police confirmed that the building was secure but would remain closed as crime scene investigators got to work.
Davis added in an interview, with the surrounding press outside the newspaper's headquarters, that while he wrote about mass shootings as part of his crime beat, it was another thing to experience one first hand.
'I'm a police reporter. I write about this stuff - not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death - all the time,' he said.
'But as much as I'm going to try to articulate how traumatizing it is to be hiding under your desk, you don't know until you're there and you feel helpless.'
The shooting sparked a huge police response, with local departments joined by the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Police have also responded to check the Baltimore Sun newsrooms in the wake of the shooting
Jimmy DeButts, the editor of the newspaper's website, tweeted in the hours after the shooting that he was 'devastated, heartbroken and numb'
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan speaks during a press conference following a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland
An intern with the Capital Gazette, Anthony Messenger, tweeted at 2.43pm there was an 'active shooter 888 Bestgate please help us.'
Aerial footage shows people being led out of the building with their hands raised. About 170 people in all were evacuated from the building, police said. Medevac helicopters were also at the scene.
John McNamara, who has worked for the Gazette and is the editor of the Bowie Blade-News and the Crofton-West County Gazette, has been confirmed among the shooting victims. It is not clear whether he was injured or a fatality.
Gazette reporter Danielle Ohl added that her colleague Rachael Pacella was among the injured in hospital.
At least one injured victim is being treated at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said during a press conference he was 'absolutely devastated to learn of this tragedy in Annapolis.
'I am in contact with County Executive Steve Schuh, and @MDSP is on the scene assisting @AACOPD. Please, heed all warnings and stay away from the area. Praying for those at the scene and for our community.'
'Your heart goes out to all the people that lost their lives. We have had several fatalities and we have had several people hospitalized.'
Special tactical police gather outside the newsroom building on Thursday afternoon following the shooting
Gazette reporter E.B Furgurson talks on the phone as police officers respond to the active shooter
Emergency services respond to the shooter at the scene of the mass shooting
Police, ATV and the FBI are among the ten different agencies who responded
As news of the Capital Gazzette shooting broke on Thursday, many on Twitter pointed out that the tragedy comes just two days after conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos cheered the idea of journalists being murdered.
When asked to comment on two different stories being written by The Daily Beast and The Observer, the alt-right poster boy responded with the same one sentence:
'I can't wait for vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on signt.'
When asked by the Observer to elaborate about what had upset them about their story, about a popular GOP watering hole, Yiannopoulos replied that it was his 'standard response to a request for comment'.
(The Daily Beast's story was about the UK Independence Party.)
It's still unclear what inspired Thursday's shooting.
DailyMail.com reached out to Yiannopolis for comment, and he responded, saying there was no evidence, as his critics said online, that he may have inspired the attack.
In a longer statement on his website, he said if anyone is to blame, it's the two outlets that published his statements, which were meant to be private.
'I sent a troll about 'vigilante death squads' as a *private* response to a few hostile journalists who were asking me for comment, basically as a way of saying, 'F*** off.' They then published it...
'If there turns out to be any dimension to this crime related to my private, misreported remarks, the responsibility for that lies squarely and wholly with Will Sommer of the Beast and the Observer's Davis Richardson for drumming up fake hysteria about a private joke, and with the verified liberals who pretended they thought I was serious,' he said.
The 33-year-old Brit was forced out of his role as a senior editor at Breitbart in February 2017, after interviews surfaced of him expressing sympathy for pedophiles.
Since then he has self-published an autobiography titled 'Dangerous' which became an Amazon.com best seller. Simon & Schuster was originally supposed to release the book, but ended the business deal over the pedophile scandal.
I was just having the same thought @ Lori Graham. I can never understand how they are always able to apprehend a white person without incident, no matter how atrocious was the crime they've committed. Truly SMH!
Black men gets killed all the time but this gunman still alive taken into custody
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